Ebb Tide (1937 film)

Ebb Tide is a 1937 American Technicolor adventure film directed by James P. Hogan and starring Oscar Homolka, Frances Farmer and Ray Milland.[1][2]

Ebb Tide
Frances Farmer in the film
Directed byJames P. Hogan
Produced byLucien Hubbard
Written byBertram Millhauser
Based onThe Ebb-Tide
by Robert Louis Stevenson and Lloyd Osbourne
StarringOscar Homolka
Frances Farmer
Ray Milland
Music byVictor Young
CinematographyRay Rennahan
Leo Tover
Edited byLeRoy Stone
Paramount Pictures
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release date
  • November 17, 1937 (1937-11-17) (New York City)
  • November 26, 1937 (1937-11-26) (United States)
Running time
94 minutes
CountryUnited States

Much of the film is set in the South Seas and is based on the novel The Ebb-Tide by Robert Louis Stevenson and his stepson Lloyd Osbourne.[3]

The novel was previously filmed as 1922 Paramount silent film Ebb Tide, and it was filmed again in 1947 as Adventure Island, produced by William H. Pine.


In 1890, three Westerners stranded on a tropical island in the South Pacific get an offer to captain a cargo boat.



Paramount had previously filmed the story in 1922. In March 1937 they announced they would film the story again under the title of With the Tide starring Frances Farmer, and produced by Lucien Hubbard. Lloyd Osborne was writing the script and Hubbard wanted Henry Hathaway do direct. Paramount were going to make the film as one of its two color movies for the season.[4]

By April Paramount had decided to revert to the story's original title and Ray Milland had joined the cast with Hathaway to direct.[5] Then Oscar Homolka, at the time best known for playing a role in Rhodes of Africa, signed a four year contract with Paramount and was given a lead role in Ebb Tide.[6] Barry Fitzgerald and Lloyd Nolan rounded out the main cast.

Henry Hathaway was delayed on shooting Souls at Sea so he was replaced as director by James Hogan.[7]

Filming started June 1937. Island scenes were shot at a specially-constructed village on Catalina Island. Over one hundred Polynesians were used.[8]

The film was shot in color at a time when that was rare.[9][10]

Paramount took up Farmer's option after she made the film.[11]


  1. "Advertisement with photo captioned, "Oscar Homolka, Frances Farmer, Ray Milland and others of the cast of Paramount's "Ebbtide" in Technicolor use the new Screen and stage make-up by Elizabeth Arden". Screenland Magazine, Inc. September 1937. Retrieved June 10, 2018.
  2. Ebb Tide Monthly Film Bulletin; London Vol. 4, Iss. 37, (Jan 1, 1937): 246.
  3. Ebb Tide bfi.org.uk
  4. NEWS OF THE SCREEN: Paramount to Remake Stevenson's 'Ebb Tide'Change of Plans for Irene Dunne Of Local Origin New York Times 10 Mar 1937: 27.
  5. NEWS OF THE SCREEN: Barbara Stanwyck Returns to Comedy--Anna Sten Tested for Role in Fredric March Film Of Local Origin Special to THE NEW YORK TIMES. New York Times (1923-Current file); New York, N.Y. [New York, N.Y]02 Apr 1937: 19.
  6. NEWS OF THE SCREEN: Four New Films Today--Paramount Buys Another Mystery Story, Signs Oscar Homolk for 'Ebb Tide' News From Hollywood New York Times 15 Apr 1937: 19.
  7. GRANT RICHARDS OF FEDERAL THEATER SIGNED FOR FILM LEAD: Ian Hunter Borrowed for Wanger Picture Schallert, Edwin. Los Angeles Times 21 May 1937: 19.
  8. Hollywood Polynesians Given Visit: Hundred Expatriates Get Old Home Week at Catalina Village Los Angeles Times 25 July 1937: C4.
  9. COLORING THE SOUTH SEAS By IDWAL JONES. New York Times 14 Nov 1937: 184.
  10. Color Movies Will Go to Sea for 'Ebb Tide' Shaffer, George. Chicago Daily Tribune 5 June 1937: 17.
  11. CHAPLIN PLANS NEW CHARACTER FOR HIS DEBUT IN TALKING PICTURES: Republic Seeks Warbler for "Parade" Lead Schallert, Edwin. Los Angeles Times 14 Sep 1937: 14.
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